Saturday, September 25, 2010

A Glimpse

As I was doing some work around the house today, I was really struggling and desperately missing Aaron. Eventually, I decided to turn on the radio for some encouragement. God must have known that thoughts of Aaron and many other "heart babies" were so heavy on my heart because the first song that came on was "I Still Believe" by Jeremy Camp. Not only is this song encouraging and a reminder of our Father's faithfulness and grace in times of such despair, but it is one of the three songs we played at Aaron's memorial service. I've always loved this song, but never did I imagine that it would mean so much to me or describe so perfectly this particular point in my walk with God in which "even when I don't see, I still believe". As I am trying to sort out the questions of "why?" and "God, I don't understand", I still believe.  The lyrics hit so close to home right now:

Scattered words and empty thoughts
seem to pour from my heart
I've never felt so torn before
seems I don't know where to start
but it's now that I feel Your grace fall like rain
from every fingertip, washing away my pain

I still believe in Your faithfulness
I still believe in Your truth
I still believe in Your holy word
even when I don't see, I still believe

Though the questions still fog up my mind
with promises I still seem to bear
even when answers slowly unwind
it's my heart I see You prepare
but it's now that I feel Your grace fall like rain
from every fingertip, washing away my pain

I still believe in Your faithfulness
I still believe in Your truth
I still believe in Your holy word
even when I don't see, I still believe

The only place I can go is into Your arms
where I throw to You my feeble prayers
in brokenness I can see that this was your will for me
Help me to know You are near

Hearing this song today also made me realize that I have not shared much about our family memorial service for Aaron. On Saturday, September 4th, we celebrated Aaron's life at a small, private family ceremony that was held at Chautauqua Park in Boulder. Again, we were blessed by so many wonderful individuals who donated their time and talent to make Aaron's celebration memorable and very special to us and our family. No parents should ever have to bury their child, and as much as I did not want to say goodbye to my son, it was a beautiful day and service as well as a wonderful way to honor Aaron's life. Here is a glimpse into that day:

Keepsake programs and scripture: Mark 10:13-16.

"These are My Footprints" and a note from Mommy and Daddy

Our sister Amy, Reverend Amy, graciously did Aaron's service for us and did an amazing job of honoring his life, demonstrating our family's love for our son and reminding us of God's promise that we will be together again someday.

Releasing balloons with hopes and dreams for our little guy

(Jennifer Severn, owner of Studio Two-Twenty photography, has a wonderful heart and volunteered her talent and time to photograph this special, but sad day for us. Ahlberg Funeral Chapel also truly went above and beyond to volunteer all support/services we needed to make Aaron's service very personal and memorable for us. As we have walked this path, God has truly blessed us with amazing people who have incredible hearts for serving others.)

To my Aaron Matthew, Happy one-month birthday baby boy. We love you and miss you more than you'll ever know little one.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

More Prayers Needed

Sweet baby Ewan and his family need prayers! This little guy was born last weekend and from what I can gather right now, he had to be taken into emergency surgery during his cath lab and was put on bypass. If you are a praying person...please lift them up in prayer.

Monday, September 20, 2010


Please, please pray for baby Joshua and his family; he is fighting for his life against hypoplastic left heart syndrome and it has been an extremely rough couple of days. I know what it's like to stand there while watching your little one crash and to feel absolutely, completely helpless... no mom should have to go through that, especially not twice in one day like his mom Jill has today. Please pray for them:

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Due Date

A note to readers: 
Dan and I initially started this blog to update everyone on our journey with Aaron, from his diagnosis and delivery to the rest of his story, yet to be known at that time. To our friends and family who have been following our journey, thank you for your continued prayers, love, support, encouragement, hugs...and the list goes on; we appreciate and love you all more than I can put into words. Although Aaron is no longer physically with us, his story and our story goes on. I am continuing to journal/blog my way through this roller coaster known as grief simply to get my thoughts out of my head. If in the process this helps someone else understand the grace and love of our God, find solace during their journey of loss or increases awareness about the monster that is CHD, then I feel I have helped, even if in some small way. So, if you would like, you are welcome to continue on this journey with me through my thoughts and ramblings (as crazy as they may be at times)...thanks for joining me and for lending an ear. 

I apologize in advance that this is a long entry. It was a late night with a heavy heart and lots of thoughts of my little one.

Yesterday was another milestone in the journey that Aaron has taken us on; it was his actual due date. September 17th... a day that had me anxious for so long, not because of the uncertainty of his heart and future, but because Dan and I were finally going to meet our child! If I was walking this path alone, I most likely would have stayed inside and moped around all day, wishing that I could just be with my son and wondering if our story would have been different had we made it a little closer to our due date. BUT, I'm not on this journey alone...thank goodness. I am blessed with an incredible husband who encourages me on a daily basis to keep putting one foot in front of the other. If Aaron's short life has taught us anything (which it has...many, many things), it is that life is precious; we need to enjoy the smallest of things in life and the beauty that is God's creation. So, Dan and I decided to do just that. What better way to celebrate Aaron and the miracle that he was and is to us than to enjoy one of our Creator's other beautiful masterpieces...the Rockies and their gorgeous Autumn colors.

We generally enjoy the serenity that comes with hiking and truly getting away from it all, but as I am still recovering from Aaron's delivery via c-section, we opted for a long scenic drive. Aaron was with us and on our minds all day as we felt the clean, crisp air blowing in the windows and enjoyed the bright blue Colorado sky and the golden aspen groves lining the mountain sides. What a beautiful, rejuvenating day. This was one of those experiences I had dreamed about sharing with our son...him bundled up and snug in a carrier as we enjoyed the beautiful Colorado outdoors. Even though he was with us, I longed for him to be with us, physically, all day; I just wanted my little Aaron Matthew back. Although I missed him more than I thought was humanly possible, I smiled and was comforted in each small way that I saw him and felt his presence throughout the day. During moments here and there, it seems that we are learning to find joy again.

 Celebrating and missing you, my sweet little one

Calm evening on the lake

The aspens signal the changing of seasons

Peaceful day in the rockies to sooth a restless heart

Speaking of finding JOY, I suppose I should share Aaron's birth story (one of the most joyful days of my life) before the details escape me; it seems fitting as I am journaling about his actual due date:
As of August 24th, I was still working full time and began having somewhat frequent and mildly uncomfortable contractions on my way home from work...I chalked it up to a full patient load that day, a significant amount of time on my feet and our due date slowly creeping up in the next few weeks. It was nothing that an evening of rest didn't seem to relieve as the contractions slowly dissipated on their own. The next day brought with it another typical sign of labor being on the horizon; however, the labor and delivery nurse I called in the early hours of the morning said not to worry about it as I was still a few weeks out. As the morning progressed, I noticed that little mister Aaron was not moving quite like normal as he generally squirmed frequently, all day long.  All of my usual attempts at getting him to move were not working...a single little movement here and there was not satisfying me, so I called my OB, somewhat concerned. She encouraged me to come in for monitoring as soon as I could get there. 

Dan and I arrived at the hospital and I was hooked up to the usual machines and monitors that were unfortunately becoming all too familiar through this journey. Only minutes later and faster than I knew what was happening, several people were in the room and I was on oxygen, had an IV placed and was being told to try to turn in several different positions as Aaron's heart rate had plummeted. His heart rate was generally maintained at 130-140 bpm (like most babies); however, during a strong contraction, he dropped to 60 bpm and stayed there for several minutes before returning to normal. The little stinker scared us to death. "You're definitely not going home anytime soon and you're going to be parents much sooner than later" were the next words we heard. I distinctly remember looking at Dan and then our OB saying, "you know that we'd really prefer to do this naturally, but whatever you have to do to get him out safe and 'healthy'... we'll do it".  We continued to be monitored while the OB group met with our cardiologists and surgeons at Children's Hospital to determine the best course of action for Aaron. We underwent another echocardiogram to determine how his heart was tolerating the recent events and were being prepared for an amniocentesis to assess lung maturity when it happened again. His heart rate plummeted during a contraction and was not coming back up. Before Dan or I could ask a question or even grasp the situation, I was being rushed down the hall to the OR to "get him out as fast as possible".  

The next hour was somewhat of a blur. The things I do remember: being scared out of my mind, 20+ people buzzing around the OR, asking if/when Dan would be able to join me for the birth of our child and praying, praying, praying "God, you've carried us through this far...please, save our son...just let me hear that little cry." And we did. God was there, orchestrating everything. Aaron's  heart rate stabilized in time for me to have a spinal and be awake to witness, with Dan, his arrival into this world...little Aaron Matthew came out with a fighting spirit, a strong set of lungs and even managed a pretty good shot as he peed all over one of the nurses. 

I remember kissing his warm, soft cheeks and finally meeting our son...completely in love with this little guy. From that moment on, I would have given my life in a heartbeat, in order to save his. 

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Gift of Memories

A couple weeks ago, Dan and I were given a priceless gift that we will cherish for the rest of our lives...we were given the gift of memories that will not fade. How do you even begin to thank those who capture sacred last moments for families and provide parents with the amazing blessing of intimate portraits with and of their children whose lives are cut far too short. The professional photographers that volunteer their time for the organization "Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep" are truly a blessing to the families they serve. Katherine Payne, from Katherine Payne Photography, gave us the gift of memories with Aaron...memories with our son, without all of the IV's, tubes and machines that were a part of him from minutes after he came into the world...priceless memories of holding him and being together as a family. Here is a slideshow of many of our favorites:

Again, what an amazing blessing this organization is to families. These photos are a reminder that Aaron was here, was a part of our lives and is a part of our family forever...they are also a part of healing as we remember and cherish our son as a beautiful gift from God. 

Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep:

Friday, September 10, 2010

Two Weeks

Two weeks ago today, we said goodbye to Aaron. At times, it is hard to imagine that it has already been two weeks, but it also feels like the days creep by as I take it minute by minute, step by step, each slow day by each slow day. Two weeks have felt like an eternity without our son.

Two weeks...not a "milestone" I want to celebrate. In fact, I would have been happy not to get out of bed this morning, but regardless of whether I am laying in bed or up and being productive, Aaron is constantly on my mind and on my heart.

Today, I woke up with a burning question for God that seemed to weigh on my heart all day..."WHY?". Why was this your plan for us? Why is Aaron gone? Why did he have to endure all that he did? Why didn't we have more time with him? Why??? So many whys. I know I will probably never understand, and even if I did get an answer, it wouldn't change the outcome and it wouldn't fix my broken heart, not at the moment anyway. My faith is not wavering; I do trust that God has a plan in all of this and that He will use this for His glory...but sometimes, I'd just like to know "why?" Surprisingly, most of this week I felt more accepting of this path that He has chosen for us to walk right now, but in all honesty, today I am really struggling.

It is amazing to me how God knows what we need and when we need it. In the midst of my struggles today, the song "If You Want Me To" (by Ginny Owens) popped into my head and kept going through my mind... all day long. I heard this song many times shortly before Aaron was born and, although it is just a song, it always struck a chord with me. Again, it was just what I needed to hear today, to get me through and remind me that I may not ever understand "why?", but He has a plan. God is always there; we'll never walk through anything alone, and He so intimately shares my pain as he gave His son for us because he loves us so deeply.

Oh how I miss my Aaron...


Thursday, September 9, 2010


Alongside our amazing family, we celebrated the life of our son, Aaron Matthew, at a small family gathering/memorial service last Saturday. So many of you have supported our entire family with prayers and encouragement over the past several months and we would love to gather together with you this weekend to thank you and celebrate the blessing of Aaron Matthew Selby.

Aaron Matthew Selby
(August 25, 2010- August 28, 2010)

Please Join Dan and Danielle Selby as they celebrate the life of their son at an open house:
Saturday, September 11th from 1pm to 4pm

The Douglas Residence
Louisville, CO.

Dan and Danielle have requested that in lieu of gifts or flowers,donations can be made online or at the open house to the Children's Hospital Foundation
100% of proceeds will benefit the Children's Hospital Heart Institute in Aurora, CO.

Sunday, September 5, 2010


To our sweet son; there aren’t enough words to tell you how desperately we miss you. There are a million things we’d love to share with you, but this simple letter could never be enough to tell you of all the hopes and dreams we had for you. From meeting your best bud, Dyna, to watching you grow, leading you in a relationship with Jesus, and teaching you how to play baseball and golf; we had so many dreams and had never been so excited for the future.

We were overjoyed when we learned that God had blessed us with you… a son. Without a doubt, one of the happiest and proudest days of our lives was the day you were born; the day we became a family. God truly blessed us and answered our prayers; you were, and still are, more perfect in every way than we ever could have imagined. Our family will never be quite complete without you here, but you will always be our son.

It is hard to tell you how very much we love you; it’s a love we’d never known or understood until you were born. We wish we would have had more time with you… much, much more time with you to show you that love. I’m so sorry, sweet boy, that so much of your precious time with us was spent unfairly in the hospital, and that we couldn’t protect you from all you endured. We were and still are in awe of your strength through everything, Aaron, and your name will be a constant reminder of that.

We know that you are no longer suffering and are enjoying the magnificence that is Heaven. We know that you are with our Father, who loved you long before we knew you. And we know that you are safe; away from the danger and suffering of this world. We are thankful and comforted by that, but the only thing that would bring us happiness and joy would be having you back with us again… the way things were supposed to be. Our hearts are broken and we miss you, sweet boy. We love you more than you’ll ever know and more than words can describe. Aaron, you’ll always be our son… no one could ever replace you. We wouldn’t trade the short time we had with you for anything in this world, except a bit more time together.

One day soon we will join you in Heaven; we can’t wait to see you again and finally enjoy all the things we had planned with you. Don’t grow up too fast… we still need to hold you and rock you and sing lullabies since we didn’t get a chance before. Always remember: We love you, and miss you deeply.

Love Always,
Mommy and Daddy
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